Yixing (pronounced Yee Shing), near Shanghai, has for centuries been known as "The Pottery Capital Of China." The world's first teapots were created here during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD.) And to this day, the distinctive earthenware teapots are considered the best vessel for brewing tea, by tea aficionados. It is said that the flavor of the tea is enhanced when brewed in an Yixing teapot. The most traditional color of the zisha or "purple clay," is actually a reddish brown. There are several other naturally occurring colors including red, dark brown, yellow, blue, green, and a rare white. Research has shown that the local sedimentary clay used to make authentic Yixing ware is lead free. This may not be the case for replicas made elsewhere.
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